|GUERRINI FEDERICA||Cycle: XXXIV |
Section: Systems and Control
Tutor: CASTELLETTI ANDREA FRANCESCO
Advisor: CASAGRANDI RENATO Major Research topic
:Data-driven modelling approaches to the multifaceted threat of marine plastic pollutionAbstract:
Plastic pollution is as an emerging environmental threat at the global scale, in particular to marine ecosystems. Being cause of both physical harm and chemical-induced toxicological effects on wildlife there, it affects major food chains in the sea, often up to humans. Once plastic waste enters the ocean, it is persistently transported very far from its source by the complex interaction between marine currents, waves and wind. There is then an urgent need for a deeper understanding of the advection-diffusion processes involving both plastic and the pollutants it carries, of the spatiotemporal patterns of their ecological impacts and of the benefits that can be obtained by different policies controlling the mismanaged plastics that enters the sea. Such an understanding can be effectively assisted by models driven by the conspicuous amount of data from various sources, ranging from satellites to GPS ship tracking and national censuses.
To inform decision making on the control of plastic pollution, the present thesis proposes and analyzes models based on oceanographic reanalyses on regional, climate-determined areas (e.g. the Mediterranean Sea) to simulate realistic, Big Data-driven patterns of release and transport of plastic waste in the marine environment and its consequent impacts. Models are here intended as tools for monitoring the phenomenon and its effects on the marine ecosystem, for projecting future scenarios of pollution and for quantitatively evaluating possible control strategies, in terms of most impacting sources and/or seasons. Although developed at a regional scale, the present approach is potentially upscalable at the global level.